For the second straight week, Michigan’s performance in the first half and second half were night and day from each other. But unlike last week, this drastic change in momentum was not self-inflicted. Up-and-coming redshirt freshmen QB Brandon Peters was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on the drive that took place right after a phantom pass interference call and a huge 3rd down conversion over Jaylen Kelly-Powell helped Wisconsin on an 88 yard touchdown scoring drive.
After Peters went down, the young Wolverines were unable to pick themselves up on offense and started to give up some big plays on defense. Drops in big moments, blown defensive assignments and some dimes and unbelievable catches from the Badgers (11-0) led the #5 team in the country to a 24-10 win over Michigan (8-3).
Overall, this was a disappointing but understandable loss for Michigan. The struggles on the road against top 25 teams continues but this game should also be taken with a big grain of salt. Michigan was the better team in the first half but just isn’t there yet to maintain it against a high quality opponent, especially after a going to its third string quarterback on the road, in a game in which first year starters played 74% of the snaps (per The Michigan Insider’s Steve Lorenz). There are plenty of things to clean up but if it weren’t for some questionable calls, a blown Donovan Peoples-Jones touchdown review and the injury to Peters, everyone’s tune would’ve been a lot different.
By the way, I highly suggest visiting Madison for a game. Fun atmosphere, cool town, great bars, nice people.
Now all eyes are on The Game as Ohio State (9-2) come to Ann Arbor with their slim playoffs hopes on the line. The biggest question heading into the matchup is who will start at quarterback for the Wolverines. Expectations won’t be extremely high if both Brandon Peters and Wilton Speight are out, which looks like it may be more likely than not. But this is a rivalry game. It’ll be a good test of Jim Harbaugh and the young squad to show up and pull off the upset. Ask me later if I think it’ll happen.
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
- The breakout performance everyone’s been waiting for from the former five star recruit. Peoples-Jones showed his dynamic ability and versatility on several occasions during the game, as he and Peters look to be building a nice connection together. He scored a touchdown that was called out of bounds, added a big 48 yard reception to set up the first touchdown and even broke off a nice 12 yard run on a reverse, finishing with 64 yards on 4 catches and 12 yards on one rush. This is a great sign for both DPJ and the Michigan offense.
- QB Brandon Peters
- While he finished with just 157 yards and completing just 50% of his passes, Peters is the engine for the Michigan offense. It’s amazing how different the entire side of the ball performs with him under center. The head injury is a little scary but Sam Webb’s report of his scan coming back negative and him being able to fly home with the are good signs. Michigan’s chances against Ohio State may fully be on his availability.
- K Quinn Nordin
- Though he only had two attempts, one extra point and one field goal, nailing both is gigantic for both Nordin and Jim Harbaugh’s confidence. His 3rd quarter 39-yard field goal gave the Wolverines its only lead of the game. Making a big field goal on the road should help ease the nerves a bit of everyone the next time he has an attempt.
Check out the highlights from the 2017 Wisconsin vs. Michigan game:
What did you think about that game? Feeling positive at all about next week’s match up with the Buckeyes? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog